"Shifting cities" Top 5 Page for this destination Xi'an by mke1963

Xi'an Travel Guide: 1,112 reviews and 3,072 photos

Like Alexandria, Baghdad or Rome, Xia'an is a city whose future is bound up inexorably in its past. It anchored the eastern end of the Silk Road, the earliest thread of global trade.
Yet the current city is a relatively modern incarnation of the ancient cities that have occupied this strategic plain where the Wei and Yellow Rivers cut through big mountains. Xi'an has picked up the legacy and the mantle of these earlier, grander cities of Xinyang and the two cities of Chang'an. Of those earlier cities little remains now. Around Xinyang and the Han Chang'an huge, blunted crags and pits of earthen walls and ramparts give only a little clue to the once sumptuous palaces, fortified walls and bustling markets that now echo in the fields of rice and wheat. The second, Sui and Tang, Chang'an was now lies beneath your feet in the concrete and stone of modern-day Xia'an, the history of a million inhabitants in the once grandest city on the planet vanished for ever.
Five hundred years after that Chang'an was dismantled and abandoned, Xi'an grew into a Ming city. Those walls you see now are the smallest of those that have enclosed the people and rulers in this area.
For Xi'an, the Terracotta Warriors are not the most ancient of the Chinese civilisations splendours, but merely one almost recent chapter.
Look further in Xi'an. Look to the north and west for the elusive remains of those ancient cities that gave Xi'an and much of northern China, the chance to be a great civilisation.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:A chronology of history
  • Cons:The authorities do not make it easy to find the older civilisations!
  • In a nutshell:History of the world in one county
  • Last visit to Xi'an: May 2004
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (22)

Comments (10)

  • lindyz's Profile Photo
    Jul 6, 2009 at 3:12 PM

    Great Xian tips Mark, also with good info and directions. I will be in Xian this September for the first time - and cant wait!!!

  • goutammitra's Profile Photo
    Jul 29, 2008 at 6:04 AM

    Excellent page. I shall come back for more. The history is amazing!

  • kenyneo's Profile Photo
    Apr 6, 2007 at 4:36 AM

    interesting tips ....wil come back for more ...cheers

  • Zvrlj's Profile Photo
    Feb 4, 2007 at 2:02 AM

    Great page. Helped us in further reading. Thank you. Greetings from Kragujevac, Serbia I&V

  • albaaust's Profile Photo
    Nov 20, 2006 at 6:44 AM

    Yes..keep going with the excellent tips.

  • hindu1936's Profile Photo
    Apr 11, 2006 at 12:11 AM

    thank you for the good info and photos. keep writing your always good tips. they are more useful than "see the pretty flowers" because you let us understand why and where.

  • BerniShand's Profile Photo
    Jan 31, 2006 at 8:57 AM

    you may not have noticed but the floors in the museum toilets are a real hazard when wet... I can still remember the bruises wonderful page, I thought the great mosque was amazing

  • Rachelynn's Profile Photo
    Dec 22, 2004 at 8:00 AM

    r u a writer by profession? Great write-up!Besides Jiu Sai Gou, Xi'an is e other place in China i really wish 2 visit. I regret not going over to Xi'an while i was doing e China Silk Rd trip. But yr tips has made it an imaginary trip 4 me. Tks 4 sharing.

  • ahoerner's Profile Photo
    Dec 19, 2004 at 5:23 AM

    I mean... the Bins album! We find "different" ones here as well...

  • nepalgoods's Profile Photo
    Nov 27, 2004 at 10:02 AM

    Wow! Really excellent informations!! I enjoyed reading your tips.


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